The past few months haven’t been the best reading months for me. I usually start off the year a little slow and then pick up, but that hasn’t truly happened yet in 2020.
My two favorite books I read the past few months are The Home for Unwanted Girls and The Boys in the Boat. If you’re looking for a great quarantine read that’s a little lighter, I’d recommend One Day in December or The Flatshare.
Winter Reading List
ONE // The Home for Unwanted Girls by Joanna Goodman is historical fiction based in 1950’s Quebec. When Maggie becomes pregnant at 15, her parents send baby Elodie to an orphanage where she receives horrible treatment for much of her life until she ages out of the system. Meanwhile, no matter what Maggie does she can’t forget the baby taken away from her or the baby’s father, her first true love. It’s not only a beautiful love story of perseverance, but I learned about a common practice during that time that I didn’t know occurred.
- Rating: A
TWO // In One Day in December by Josie Silver, Laurie spots the man of her dreams through a bus window one snowy day in December. For the next year she searches everywhere for him. Laurie is finally reunited with him when her best friend and roommate, Sarah, introduces Laurie to her new boyfriend, Jack. The story continues through the next 10 years as Laurie, Sarah and Jack navigate life and love.
- Rating: A-
THREE // The Boys on the Boat by David James Brown is the story of nine American boys and their quest for the gold medal at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. As a fan of the World War II genre, I enjoyed that the book touched on elements of the upcoming war while focusing on the stories of the nine boys that would make up the rowing team. There is a lot of rowing terminology that took me a bit to get into. The Boys in the Boat gained steam for me throughout the book. By the end I couldn’t wait to find out what had happened to each of them during the rest of their lives.
- Rating: A-
FOUR // Shopaholic Christmas by Sophie Kinsella is the next in the Shopaholic series. I was at a holiday party when someone mentioned reading it. I didn’t know there was another book in the series and immediately requested it from the library. If you’re a fan of the Shopaholic series, you’ll love it. Shopaholic Christmas features Becky getting into her usual trouble this time centered around the holiday season. It’s hard to get frustrated with her as her heart is always in the right place. Is Shopaholic Christmas my favorite in the series? No, but I still enjoyed it immensely.
- Rating: B+
FIVE // Anna K by Jenny Lee is a modern take on Anna Karenina. It’s been described as Gossip Girl meets Big Little Lies. Anna K follows Anna, her brother and friends, all privileged and at the peak of Manhattan society, through the ups and downs of teenage life and love. While I was into it the first half, the rest of the book dragged for me. I just wanted it to be over.
- Rating: C+
SIX // City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert was on my to be read list for months. I finally dug into it and am so glad that I did. City of Girls is told from the perspective of Vivian Morris. Now 89 years old, Vivian is sharing the story of her life from her arrival in New York City in 1940 as a 19 year old through to present day. It’s a story of owning your life even when it goes against the common route. There’s a twist at the end that I didn’t see coming.
- Rating: B+
SEVEN // The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary is a quirky romantic comedy. Tiffy shares an apartment with Leon. The catch is they never see each other as Leon works nights. So they communicate by leaving each other notes. Tiffy’s ex-boyfriend appears at unexpected moments while she’s healing from their toxic relationship. If you’re looking for a fun, light romantic read, I would definitely read this one.
- Rating: B+
EIGHT // So Here’s the Thing by Alyssa Mastromonaco is the follow up to her bestseller, Who Thought This Was a Good Idea. Alyssa is funny and tells it like it is, which I very much enjoyed about her first book. While I’d recommend her first book regardless of your political affiliation, So Here’s the Thing definitely leans more to the left. Alyssa shares essays about a variety of topics one of which is her decision not to have children. Even though that’s not the path my life has taken, I really liked reading her story.
- Rating: B